This action plan aimed to improve the mental health and wellbeing of people living in rural and remote Queensland.
Approval of Shifting minds: Queensland Mental Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Strategic Plan 2018-2023 marks the finalisation of the Strategic Plan 2014–2019 and associated action plans.
Supporting mental health and wellbeing in the bush can be challenging. It requires all sectors, including health, education and employment, housing and community support services to work together with communities.
About the Rural and Remote Action Plan
The Queensland Rural and Remote Mental Health and Wellbeing Action Plan 2016-18 is a commitment of the 2014-2019 Strategic Plan.
The 2016 Rural and Remote Action Plan builds on actions being taken under three whole-of-population action plans released in 2015, namely the Early Action, Suicide Prevention and Alcohol and Other Drugs Action Plans.
This Action Plan focuses on the circumstances and needs of people living in rural and remote Queensland. The Rural and Remote Plan had three priority areas:
- Better opportunities for good mental health and wellbeing
- Community strength
- Responsive and accessible services
In 2016, the Towards a Queensland Rural and Remote Mental Health and Wellbeing Action Plan discussion paper was developed to guide consultation and inform development of the Action Plan.
We listened to Queenslanders across the State about issues impacting on the mental health and wellbeing of people living in rural and remote communities. This included a series of Ministerial Roundtable consultations in 2014.
What we heard
Community perspectives from our 2016 consultations in rural and remote communities were published in stakeholder reports:
Watch the Longreach community perspectives video.
Issues raised throughout consultations included:
- Stigma is a significant barrier to people accessing support early
- Mental health and wellbeing needs to be discussed more frequently and at all stages of life, not just when there are adverse events occurring, such as drought or natural disasters
- Better consultation should occur with communities before funding or services are provided to ensure they meet community needs
- Better communication about available services, particularly outreach services, is needed to improve access
- Geographic isolation and financial problems can make accessing mental health and drug and alcohol services difficult
- The impact of natural disasters and droughts are felt by entire communities, families and the local economy
- Challenges in recruiting and retaining staff
- Continuity of care in service provision, particularly relating to problematic alcohol and other drug use, is not always available or close to home
- The importance of providing state-wide services equitably across Queensland including those hosted by larger Hospital and Health Services.
Rural and Remote reference group
The Commission established a Queensland Rural and Remote Mental Health and Wellbeing Reference Group to monitor implementation of this Action Plan, identify emerging issues and good practice.